Anti-idiotypic network induced by T cell vaccination against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

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Science  08 Jan 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4836, pp. 181-183
DOI: 10.1126/science.2447648


In a study of the mechanism of resistance to autoimmune disease induced by T cell vaccination, rats were vaccinated against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by injecting them once in the hind footpads with a subencephalitogenic dose (10(4)) of a clone of T lymphocytes specific for myelin basic protein (BP). The response to vaccination was assayed by challenging the rats with an encephalitogenic dose (3 X 10(6)) of T lymphocytes of this BP-specific clone. Five to six days after vaccination, the cells responsible for mediating resistance to adoptively transferred EAE were concentrated in the popliteal lymph nodes draining the vaccination site. Transfer of the draining lymph node cells to unvaccinated rats led to loss of resistance in the donor rats and acquisition of resistance by the recipient rats. Limiting-dilution cultures of the draining lymph node cells were established with irradiated cells of the BP-specific clone as stimulators. Two sets of T lymphocytes specifically responsive to the BP-specific T cells from the clone were isolated: CD4+CD8- helper and CD4-CD8+ suppressor cells. The helper T cells, like the BP antigen, specifically stimulated the BP-specific vaccinating clone. In contrast, the suppressor T cells specifically suppressed the response of the BP-specific vaccinating clone to its BP antigen. These results suggest that T cell vaccination induces resistance to autoimmune disease by activating an antiidiotypic network.